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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - June 16, 2015

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Brown spots on native oak trees
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Hi, My native live oak trees are declining. The leaves have small brown spots that increase in size until the leaf dies and falls off, then the branch and then the entire limb. I have not watered them through the drought(to many and I'm on a well system). Any ideas? Is there anything I can do? Mark ps-my location is sw austin

ANSWER:

It is very difficult to diagnose plant diseases from written descriptions, but chances are it is some sort of fungal pest. Two publications that may prove helpful are the “Texas Plant Disease Handbook" , and the Gardening Fact Sheet; “Major Oak Diseases and their Control”. Having a knowledgable person look at your trees would probably be more useful, so contacting the Travis County Office Texas AgriLife Extension  should be your next step. Your Extension Agent can also put you in touch with the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab.

Your oaks have been getting quite a bit of water lately, and are hopefully perking up. Drought puts a lot of stress on trees, and makes them susceptible to various diseases, such as the brown spots above.

I’m going to provide you with three links that have good informatiton about tree watering during drought.

City of Austin 

LBJ Wildflower Center drought resources 

Tree watering tips on youtube  

 

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